Updated: Aug 30, 2021
First, what are some of the issue’s parents encounter with their children? All examples are from my clinical practice.
“They don’t listen.”
“They don’t do what I ask/tell them to do.”
“They don’t talk to me…share what’s going on with them.”
“I don’t know how to get through to them.”
“They are so withdrawn.”
“They are scared and don’t want to leave me.”
“They want my undivided attention/clinging.”
“I don’t know how to talk to them. To help them.”
Parents, you are the ones that notice difficulty in your children and/or in the family. Usually, you can identify the basic problem behavior------he’s always angry/crying. She’s so shy…. she has no friends. I have noticed he is withdrawing more these days.
You are in the best position to identify problems that your child is having and that you are having. With your child.
Although there are many varieties of problems, two of the most common are anxiety and depression in children.
Anxiety shows up in various forms----being shy, afraid of social contacts, fear that no one will like Them, on-going nightmares, afraid to try new things, difficulty concentrating in school.
Some problems are shared with depression and it is not always easy to distinguish the two. The main feature of depression is that the child feels hopeless------that things will never get better and at times that they feel worthless and for some, doomed. This is exceedingly difficult for many parents to understand and/or believe. However, there is a major increase in depression among young children, so this is particularly important to be aware of. Some parents are shocked and do not believe that children can be depressed but the increasing suicide rate among children tells us differently. Not to panic but please be aware.
You as the parent know it is a problem when you see these feelings interfering with the child’s family, social or school life. Trust yourself. Occasionally a child will ask to see a counselor though this is often not until around age 12. Before that the parent can identify problems in the child’s development and seek a consultation
Ways to help Children
The main way children can be helped is to use play therapy-----a way to help children express themselves by using puppets or dolls, for example to act out a scenario in the child’s life-----for example, pick a doll/puppet for how life is at school for you. Or with Magical U, a card game that helps the child express their feelings about a topic of their choice using visual cues. With Magical U the energy holding those feelings in place Is released.
I have personally used puppets and sandbox approaches as well as Magical U. As a Magical U Trainer, I am partial to this approach but there are many options available. The purpose is to engage the child to express themselves.
Help for Parents.
Parents, and teachers, are the main role models for most children. And usually, parents have not had any training in being a parent except how they were parented, which may or may not have been a positive experience. For example, one parent I know learned how to always look on the bright side so she could survive her totally unsupportive family. And although she has done well herself, she often has a difficult time being sensitive to her children’s feelings and wants to give them a pep talk. It worked for her but for her children who want her to listen to their feelings.
There are more resources for parents than ever before. There are numerous parenting support groups on Facebook as well as local support groups in your region. YouTube has videos. There is a whole recent worldwide movement called Conscious Parenting which is helping parents understand their own issues and how this affects their children.
Please feel free to contact me for more information and a brief free consultation about your situation.